Here's some interesting news for the many fans and owners of Mitsubishi Motors.
After much speculation, Mitsubishi has just confirmed that they're working on a new SUV, and judging by the looks of it, the new model will be based on the Xpander.
The news comes from the Indonesian operations of Mitsubishi Motors. The news is key because Indonesia is the source for the Xpander MPV, as well as the main market for other compact MPVs and SUVs of the same or similar size such as the Toyota Rush and Toyota Avanza.
Mitsubishi didn't say much apart from the model being their “New Crossover MPV” and that it will have the characteristics of the MPV and an SUV. They did release one teaser image wherein clearly the vehicle looks like it will have many of the design characteristics of the Xpander such as the Dynamic Shield on the bumper and cladding on the body like an SUV.
The crucial thing will be the ride height. Based on the image, we can estimate (well, guesstimate) that the the minimum ground clearance of the model will be around 220 millimeters, possibly more. To put that in perspective, the Xpander is at around 205mm while the apparent direct competitor to this new Mitsubishi SUV, the Toyota Rush, is at 220mm.
We're not sure if Mitsubishi will change the interior much, but we do expect it to have a 7-seater configuration given the Xpander's platform. We also expect it to have the same 1.5-liter engine as the Xpander with the 4-speed automatic driving the front wheels. As to whether Mitsubishi will offer the option for an all-wheel drive given it's SUV branding is unclear, but having a 4WD Xpander would be nice indeed.
The expansion (pun intended) of the Xpander lineup is a very logical move for Mitsubishi Motors. Currently, their Indonesian factory produces the Xpander as well as the Nissan Livina. Adding the SUV version of the Xpander to that lineup will improve their economies of scale which can theoretically help make prices even more attractive or improve profitability.
Mitsubishi hasn't released the name yet, but here's where it gets even more interesting: on the teaser image, Mitsubishi Motors Indonesia put the caption YOUR NEW ADVENTURE BUDDY COMING SOON.
Are they hinting at resurrecting the Adventure name for this Xpander-based SUV? Whatever the name may be, we're sure the Philippine market will be very interested in it.